overall
94
90
style
RATINGS: 21   MEAN: 3.78/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.55/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 210   ABV: 7%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Challenger is "grandaughter" of the Northern Brewer variety, bred in England. This hop, noted for its spicy aroma, can can be used for bittering, flavor and aroma because it blends well with other English hop varieties. Challenger is often used in brewing British Bitters, Porter, Stout, ESB and Brown Ales.

Known years: 2005, 2006

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3.2
Eyedrinkale (3214) - Astoria, New York, USA - JUL 10, 2007
Tap @ HDG. Earthy hop flavor adds a dryness I usually don’t associate with IPA’s. Palate is dry and somewhat crisp with some lingering caramel flavors. Although I really liked the carbonation level of this part of the project, I suppose I just don’t care too much for Challenger. Funny, as I liked it two years ago at Sly Fox. Hmmm.

4
bfeldmann (1050) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - APR 6, 2007
wow this one mmmmm. Poured a hazy goldish color with good head and amazing lacing. Aroma was pine and and citrus. Flavor yum yum grassy hops citrus light fruits malty base in there was amazing. Very very well balanced

3.4
ClarkVV (6825) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - JAN 18, 2007
Draught pint at Hop Devil Grill on 1/12/06
Canteloupe-brass body has a slight tint of auburn, while the off-white head is medium in height, mostly well-retained and provides light lacing. Clarity is high, with plentiful carbonation.
Highly spicy hop aroma is dotted with crystal malt hardness and bits of sweet graham cracker and caramel. The malts are well attenuated though, so they don’t provide too much a challenge to overcome by the hops (though some hop flavors are drowned out). But the hops seem pretty bare and overly dry. Not that I expected much else from challengers, I guess I just dont find it to make a good single-hop beer. Just too much dusty dryness and very subtle, dry, fresh cut grassiness that is too easily undercut by the malt. Lemon, pepper, grass, and a plethora of dry herbs, with clean yeast, no brewing flaws or alcohol even for its strength. Good strength on the aroma, being a more subtle hop, served on draught in a crowded bar, I’m impressed.
Dry, lightly crystally malts provide bits of melon-like flavors, with a pinch of caramel and soft red fruits. Hops start out as a lightly dull basil/thyme/oregano sort of thing, slowly adding freshly cut grass and finally growing extremely dry and spicy (white and black pepper). Almost like a spicy herb was used (lemongrass). A distinct, but reserved orange tanginess sits in the background. It’s different than any other IPA I can remember, that’s for sure, but the muted, or maybe more accurately, reserved malt flavors, in concert with the very dry, bare peppery-spiciness just get rather boring and predictable by the end of the glass. Medium amounts of somewhat tight carbonation. Some orange essence, lemon oil and a chewy, almost nutty plant-like flavor emerge after it warms up. Frothy, lively texture with no brewing flaws. Not too much resemblance to an American IPA.

4.2
JB175 (1665) - Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 15, 2007
First time I’ve tried a single-hop challenger brew. Amber color thats pretty & clear. Aroma is a nice floral-grassy mix with some sweet citrus. Flavor is very nice - sweet citrus with just enough grassy-pine. Caramel and other malt tastes mix well with this finely balanced IPA. Not quite simcoe, but the challenger is a fine hop to turn to for a quality brew. Well done Sly Fox!!!!!!!!

3.6
JoeMcPhee (9451) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 21, 2006
Tap at Barcade. Clear, amber beer with a fluffy white head. Great aroma, orange peel, mango, and a herbaceous grassy character that I quite enjoy. Very fresh smelling. Light pale malt in back, but this one is all about the hops. Very fruity flavour with sweet orange hops and a lovely soft spicy note throughout as well. Light woody resinousness as it warms a bit. Nice pint.

3.5
TomDecapolis (4618) - Milton, Delaware, USA - NOV 24, 2006
From a growler purchased @ the Royersford location. Pours a translucent golden amber with an average creamy off white head that left some lacing. Aroma is initially earthy/grassy kind of what I would expect from an English bred hop. The more I spend with this I started to pick up the caramel malts, bread and some floral hops. Flavor has a fairly heavy hop bitterness presence followed by some pine and woody characteristics. More of a grainy/bready/toasty malt character as opposed to some of the caramel that has come across in some of these IPA project brews. I ejoyed having the opportunity to check out the Challenger hop all by itself like this though.

4.2
User37895 (3042) - - JUN 5, 2006
I wasn’t expecting much after moving from the Pale Ale (boring) to this one, but it exceeded expectations. The appearance was golden amber colored with a nice head and great lacing (many of these Sly Fox beers have been so). Lacing was not continuous, but left long fingers or trails on the glass with good coverage. The aroma was mildly hoppy, not much else going on (again, not excited to try this one at that point). The flavor, though, was outstanding without being hop crazy. Grapes, other fruits, some citrus, were all present in the malty base that was well balanced (again, not overly hopped) with a hop presence. I liked the approach, I liked the hop selection, and the flavor was great. Mouthfeel was typical for the style, but not too thick.

3.4
Dickinsonbeer (5074) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - DEC 18, 2005
Challenger has that earthy and grassy hops character similar to other english styles, but it actually wasnt as earthy as other harsh hop varieties like bramling cross etc. This was actually quite nice with some good floral hop qualities and a nice clean bitterness. Pretty good.

3.5
tiggmtl (4544) - East York, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 15, 2005
Leafy, herbal, woody, orange blossom hop nose with underlying toasty, biscuity malt character. Hazy orange-copper coloured body with a decent, off white head that recedes to cover with some lacing. Tart orange citrus hops with plenty of earthy and floral character and strong bitterness. Toasted malt base is lightly sweet. Medium light body with lively carbonation. Sampled on tap at the brewpub with beerbuzzmontreal, egajdzis, Eyedrinkale, MartinT, Rastacouere and Yowie.

4.4
obxdude10 (2358) - Pottstown, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 10, 2005
One of the best that the Sly Fox has done in the firist two years of this IPA Project, outstanding IPA, amber in color with an orange hue, thick off-white head, great lacing around the glass, aroma full of hops & oranges, full-bodied, great malty backbone for nice balance, dry & hoppy flavors with notes of oranges & caramel, dry & bitter finish, excellent IPA


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